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Publicly Financed Residential Construction
This chapter presents statistics for public housing family dwelling units developed since 1932. During World War I approximately 30,000 accommodations for families and single persons were provided by the Federal Government, but for the purposes of this handbook the record of public housing production is considered as beginning in 1932.
Within this 15-year period the growth of public housing may be divided into five phases:
The first phase brought out a plan for Federal loans. The Emergency Relief and Construction Act of 1932 authorized the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to make loans to private limiteddividend companies under State and local regulation. Later the Public Works Administration made similar loans under authority of the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933. Only seven such loans were made by PWA, and statistics are included on these projects.
The second phase was the development of projects directly by the Federal Government. This included 'public housing construction as one method of providing employment during the depression. Statistics are included on these projects some of which were approved as early as 1934 under the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 and developed by the Public Works Administration and the Farm Security Administration. The last such project was approved in 1936.
The third phase saw the development of public housing as a local responsibility to be carried out by the local communities with the Federal Government giving financial and technical assistance. This principle was incorporated in the United States Housing Act (USHA) of 1937, which provided for loans to local housing authorities for slum clearance and the development of low-rent housing for families of low income. The United States Housing Act also provided annual subsidies as a part of a plan to maintain low-rent levels. Parallel to this phase of Federal-local public housing some State-financed programs were de
veloping along similar lines. New York has led all other States in State-financed public housing. The fourth phase of public housing might be called the war housing period. This was almost entirely federally financed and began in 1940 with the Defense Housing Program. It brought to a halt all slum clearance housing production except that which could be used for defense purposes. The period from 1940 to 1945 was marked by extensive construction of public housing for the use of civilian war workers and military personnel. Local housing authorities made an important contribution to the construction and management of war housing by cooperating with the Federal Government. The National
Housing Agency was created in February 1942 and through one of its constituent agencies, the Federal Public Housing Authority, took over almost all the low-rent housing and all of the defense and war housing activities of the Federal Government except the farm housing administered by the Farm Security Administration and certain on-post housing operated by the War and Navy Departments. Other Federal agencies which had contributed to the war housing production picture prior to this time included the War Department, Navy Department, Defense Homes Corporation, United States Maritime Commission, Federal Works Administration, Farm Security Administration, National Capital Housing Authority, Office of Defense Plants, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Bureau of Reclamation.
The most recent phase of public housing is concerned with homes for veterans and began late in 1945. The Veterans Reuse Program was authorized under title V of the Lanham Act and later became a part of the Veterans' Emergency Housing Program. Federal funds were appropriated and allocated to the Federal Public Housing Authority to convert on site or to dismantle,
remove, and re-erect surplus barracks or other vacant temporary dwelling and nondwelling buildings. In many cases buildings and equip ment were turned over to local public or nonprofit agencies to be converted into living quarters at their expense. Army structures acquired by the New York State Division of Housing and other local governments and converted to veterans' housing at State or local expense without FPHA supervision are considered a supplemental part of this program (for statistics, see Appendix C).
All of the data used in the following tables (except for 1946 figures which were furnished by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) are based on information obtained from the Federal Public Housing Authority, Statistics Division. These statistics are intended to cover all new public family dwelling units whether or not under FPHA jurisdiction or control. (Exceptions are noted in the text concerned with the individual tables.)
Public housing as presented in this chapter is limited to family dwelling units owned or operated by or under the supervision of local, State or Federal governmental agencies.' Housing constructed by private interests with the aid of loans from public funds is not included except for seven limited-dividend projects financed by Public Works Administration loans. The limited-dividend projects in New York State financially assisted through tax abatement, the many veterans' homes purchased with G. I. loans guaranteed by the Federal Government through the Veterans' Administration, homes bought with FHA-insured mortgages, and loans from State or local funds are excluded from the following series.
In 1946, the problems of obtaining accurate statistics on public housing became more complicated because of the many State and local agencies undertaking to develop housing for veterans.
As of June 1947, Federal agencies with public housing programs were: The Federal Public Housing Authority, Defense Homes Corporation, the War and Navy Departments, the National Capital Housing Authority, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Bureau of Prisons, and the Bureau of Reclamation (the last operates only three small housing programs). As of the close of 1946, the Office of Defense Plants (RFC), the Maritime Commission, and the Office of Labor (Department of Agriculture) had substantially disposed of their housing programs.
1 Appendix C presents data on all public housing including dormitory and stop-gap units.
PUBLIC LOW-RENT HOUSING
NONFARM DWELLING UNITS APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT
BY PROGRAM AND BY YEAR, 1934-1946
SOURCE: Federal Public Housing Authority, Statistics Division
Number of Dwelling Units Started
Table 18 presents preliminary data on publicly financed nonfarm new family dwelling projects started and the development cost of these projjects by year, 1936 through 1946. By new housing is meant housing at a new location from new or reused material. This series includes the projects developed by the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (Public Works Administration); the projects developed under the United States Housing Act; the nonfarm projects built under the auspices of the Farm Security Administration and its predecessor agencies; war housing projects built by the Federal Public Housing Authority, other Federal agencies, and the New York State Division of Housing; and postwar housing including that developed under title V of the Lanham Act by Federal and local agencies.
The series do not include 49,565 family dwelling units converted in properties leased to the Federal Government during the war through the Home Owners' Loan Corporation, and veterans' housing developed with local public financial assistance over and above the FPHA Veterans' Reuse Hous
ing Program. In addition, all accommodations for single persons and stop-gap housing (such as trailers) built under the war and veterans' housing programs are excluded from these series. Finally, farm dwellings and housing constructed outside of the continental United States have been excluded from this and the following series.
All units in PWA and USHA projects are considered as being placed under construction or "started" at the effective date of the construction contract award. In the case of war housing started after 1943 and veterans' reuse housing, the notice to proceed issued to the contractor determines the starting date.
The term "project" refers to a group of dwelling units (a) provided on one site and developed in one principal operation, (b) financed through one source, (c) confined to one type of accommodation, and (d) confined to one basic type of construction. (Many exceptions occur in the Veterans' Reuse Program.) In the case of the USHA programs, the term "development" was used in the same sense as the word "project," when used in connection with war housing.
Sources: Federal Public Housing Authority, Statistics Division for 1936-45 data; U. 8. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics for 1946 data.
"Total development cost" of a public-housing project includes the cost of all undertakings necessary for planning, financing, land acquisition, demolition, site improvements, utilities, supervision, and construction necessary for the provision of dwelling and nondwelling facilities for the project. In connection with the Veterans' Reuse Housing Program (provided in the latter part of 1945 and in 1946), development costs include only the cost of contracts awarded with respect to the dismantling, transportation and reerection and, in some cases, conversion work.
The break-down of units on a basis of Federal or local financing is sometimes an arbitrary one. In general, however, Public Law 412 (USHA low-rent housing) units and locally owned Public Law 671 (USHA defense housing) units, although financed by the sale of bonds secured by annual contributions from the Federal Public Housing Authority, are counted as "locally financed," since they are owned by the particular local housing authorities. All Public Law 671 units are counted as "federally financed" when owned by the Federal Government. The entire development costs of the locally owned FPHA projects are included in the "locally financed" column, although the financing was actually accomplished through participation of both the Federal Government and local governments.
These series are indicative of trends and volume in public housing construction and provide data which are roughly comparable to the estimates of private construction contained in chapter I. It should be noted that the data on public housing
represent actual figures and are not estimates based on a sample as are the private figures. Number of Dwelling Units Completed
Table 19 presents publicly financed nonfarm new family dwelling projects completed and the development costs of these projects, by year 1936 through 1946. In general, the table covers the same types of projects as those included in the previous series (table 18). In 1946, however, data include all family dwelling units in the FPHA Veterans' Reuse Program except stop-gap accommodations, but exclude units developed by other Federal agencies, and by local public agencies or institutions outside of the Temporary Reuse Program.
A completed project is one in which all units have been completed and are ready for occupancy. For the purpose of this table, all units in a project were counted as completed in the year when the last unit of the project was completed.
Table 19.-Number of units in publicly financed new nonfarm family dwelling projects completed in continental United States, and their development cost, by year, 1936-46
Table 20 presents the number of active urban developments and dwelling units in the low-rent housing program under FPHA management or administrative control by public law as they were approved, by year 1934 through 1946. No approvals have been granted for new public United States Housing Act low-rent housing projects since June 1945. Data on low-rent housing under the New York State-aided and the New York City-financed programs are excluded.
The term "urban" refers to incorporated places which had populations of 2,500 or more in 1940, and a few unincorporated civil subdivisions.
Table 20.—U. S. Housing Authority public low-rent housing: Active nonfarm developments and dwelling units approved by the President, by program and by year, 1934–46
1 A "development" generally consists of housing on a single site developed as 1 construction operation. With respect to some developments, 2 construction contracts were awarded having different dates of completion; each contract was treated as a separate development.
Source: Federal Public Housing Authority, Statistics Division.
Dwelling Units Completed by Type of Program
Table 21 presents the FPHA public low-rent housing program by year of completion and by
legal authorization, by year 1936 through 1946. As in the case of table 20, the New York State and New York City programs are not included.
Table 21.-U. S. Housing Authority public low-rent housing: Nonfarm developments and dwelling units completed by program, and by year, 1936-46
1 A "development" generally consists of housing on a single site developed as 1 construction operation. With respect to some developments, 2 construction contracts were awarded having different dates of completion; each contract was treated as a separate development. Source: Federal Public Housing Authority, Statistics Division.
Dwelling Units Under Active Management
Table 22 presents publicly financed nonfarm family dwelling units under active management in FPHA programs, by month during 1946.
The number of units under active management in any one month consists of all units completed up to that date, less those in inactive status (under custodial management) and those disposed of (sold, transferred, destroyed, etc.). It includes permanent and demountable units which have
been terminated for war use pursuant to NHA General Order 11-19. This order provides for the termination as war housing of all permanent federally owned housing projects under the jurisdiction of the National Housing Administrator.
This table presents public housing under FPHA control broken down into its different programs. The Public War Housing (Lanham-constructed) Program includes all war housing under the jurisdiction of FPHA except that constructed under